White screen of death issue with strange symptoms, any help would be appreciated.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by azwillnj, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. azwillnj macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    #1
    I have a Mid-2010 Macbook Pro 13" with some strange things happening to it, I am going to make this as short and succinct as possible:

    Timeline:

    • June 2012 - Hard drive ribbon cable fails, replaced by service center, mbp fully functional after fix.
    • Sept 2012 - WiFi Card Hardware not found, reset PRAM, mbp fully functional after fix.
    • Oct 2012 - Starts randomly locking up and shutting down, run First Aid on drive, mbp still acting up.
    • Nov 2012 - When attempting to boot apple symbol and chime are heard, screen changes to white and will not move on.

    Current symptoms:
    • Will not boot into standard OSX 10.8, I get a solid white screen for hours
    • Boots fine into Safe Mode
    • Boots fine into Windows 7 Bootcamp Partition
    • Boots fine into SD Card with 10.8 installer on it

    Here is what I have tried to fix it so far:
    • Reinstall OSX from internet recover over old install - Same symptoms with white screen showing for hours.
    • Reinstall OSX from SD Card over old install - Same symptoms with white screen showing for hours.
    • Format OSX Partition from Disk Utilities and reinstall from internet recovery - Same symptoms with white screen showing for hours.
    • Format OSX Partition from Disk Utilities again and reinstall from SD Card - Same symptoms with white screen showing for hours.
    • Brought to Genius Bar, the Genius booted Verbose, it locked on loading the NTFS driver. Then booted into Bootcamp Windows 7 partition with no problems. Kept it overnight and determined that it was the video card (?!?) even though it operates fine in windows and there are no symptoms of it failing. It's out of warranty so the repairs will be $300, I declined and vowed to fix it myself, or use the $300 towards a new Air.
    • Format Entire Drive from Disk Utilities and reinstall from internet recovery - Same symptoms with white screen showing for hours.
    • Format entire drive again from Disk Utilities and reinstall from SD card - Same symptoms with white screen showing for hours.
    • Remove logic board and hard drive, put everything back together. The thought here was that maybe the repair technician did not seat one of the ribbon cables correctly and that was causing the issues.
    • Format Entire Drive from Disk Utilities and reinstall from internet recovery - Same symptoms with white screen showing for hours.
    • Format entire drive again from Disk Utilities and reinstall from SD card - Same symptoms with white screen showing for hours.
    • Replace Hard Drive, format entire drive from Disk Utilities and reinstall from internet recovery - Same symptoms with white screen showing for hours.
    • Format new hard drive again from Disk Utilities and reinstall from SD Card - Same symptoms with white screen showing for hours.

    So at this point I am completely out of Ideas.

    Everything works perfectly in the OSX installer when booting from the 10.8 SD Card installer that I made. Before I formatted the whole drive Windows 7 would boot and function properly, but nothing I have done will make stupid damn OSX function properly.

    I only have one theory right now.. I found an old Mac II in a dumpster once and tried to get it running again, after much troubleshooting I found that the battery on the mainboard was dead and not allowing it to boot. Unless I get a better suggestion I am going to take the logic board out again and look for a button cell battery for the bios or something that could have gone bad. Is there such a thing on a modern Mac?

    What should I do now? Any help/insight/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


    Alex.
     
  2. azwillnj thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    #2
    I made some progress yesterday.

    I booted into safe mode and installed an update to 10.8, this allowed it to boot normally. The only catch is that it freezes almost instantly after booting fully. If you sit there and wait it will become responsive again but only for about 20 seconds, then it will freeze again for 10 seconds.. this cycle continues over and over again.

    I am going to buy some CD-R's on the way home from work today and am going to try to make a Firmware Restoration CD and see what happens there.

    In the meantime, does anyone else have any suggestions?.. please?

    Alex.
     
  3. switon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #3
    RE: ssh terminal login...

    Hi,

    Sorry about your problems. After booting your machine and before logging in, have you tried to log in over a network connection using ssh from another computer? If you can login using ssh, this might help isolate the problem, as then from the terminal window on another computer you can then execute commands on your machine to check things. (The ssh terminal window on the second machine does not require the windowserver on the problem machine.) For instance, you say that the machine repeatedly freezes. From the ssh terminal you can check if this "freezing" is just the screen (windowserver or graphics card) or if the cpu also "freezes". If it is just the windowserver/graphics that freezes, then indeed the video card may be having problems just like the Genius found. Since Windows 7 may not use the same set of GPU commands as the Mac OS X, it is possible that the graphics will freeze under Mac OS X and not under Windows 7. In other words, not freezing under Windows 7 does not mean that your graphics card is working perfectly.

    Can you set the machine to use only the integrated graphics instead of the discrete graphics, and does the problem occur for both integrated and discrete graphics?

    Good luck,
    Switon
     
  4. azwillnj thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    #4
    Thanks for the reply.

    Can you suggest some ssh commands to troubleshoot with? I know how to enable ssh, login, and do some basic stuff, but I'm not sure how to troubleshoot.

    That's an interesting idea with the graphics card. Is there a way to enable one or the other?

    Alex.
     
  5. switon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #5
    RE: gfxCardStatus...

    Hi Alex,

    In the Energy Saver pane of the System Preferences, if you uncheck the "Automatic graphics switching" box then your computer will always use the discrete GPU.

    To specify the integrated GPU only, there are several options, including a terminal command. But I'd recommend one of the graphics card apps, such as the gfxCardStatus app. This app allows you to specify either the integrated or the discrete or allow switching between them.

    Good luck,
    Switon
     

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